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Successional Categorization of European Hemi-boreal Forest Tree Species

1
Department of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding, Institute of Forestry, Lithuanian Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry, Kaunas distr LT-53101, Lithuania
2
Institute of Forest Biology and Silviculture, Vytautas Magnus University, Studentu 11, Akademija, Kaunas LT-53361, Lithuania
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Plants 2020, 9(10), 1381; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9101381
Received: 7 September 2020 / Revised: 12 October 2020 / Accepted: 14 October 2020 / Published: 16 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Environment and Ecology)
Developing forest harvesting regimes that mimic natural forest dynamics requires knowledge on typical species behaviors and how they respond to environmental conditions. Species regeneration and survival after disturbance depends on a species’ life history traits. Therefore, forest succession determines the extent to which forest communities are able to cope with environmental change. The aim of this review was to (i) review the life history dynamics of hemi-boreal tree species in the context of ecological succession, and (ii) categorize each of these tree species into one of four successional development groups (gap colonizers, gap competitors, forest colonizers, or forest competitors). To do this we embraced the super-organism approach to plant communities using their life history dynamics and traits. Our review touches on the importance and vulnerability of these four types of successional groups, their absence and presence in the community, and how they can be used as a core component to evaluate if the development of the community is progressing towards the restoration of the climatic climax. Applying a theoretical framework to generate ideas, we suggest that forests should be managed to maintain environmental conditions that support the natural variety and sequence of tree species’ life histories by promoting genetic invariance and to help secure ecosystem resilience for the future. This could be achieved by employing harvesting methods that emulate natural disturbances and regeneration programs that contribute to maintenance of the four successional groups. View Full-Text
Keywords: climatic climax; life history; forest disturbance; gap colonizers; gap competitors; forest colonizers; forest competitors; forest dynamics; forest management climatic climax; life history; forest disturbance; gap colonizers; gap competitors; forest colonizers; forest competitors; forest dynamics; forest management
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MDPI and ACS Style

Petrokas, R.; Baliuckas, V.; Manton, M. Successional Categorization of European Hemi-boreal Forest Tree Species. Plants 2020, 9, 1381.

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